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Candidates from both parties make campaign stops in Farmington
GOP hopefuls visited on Thursday, Democrats held Friday event
FARMINGTON — Candidates are courting voters in San Juan County as the November election approaches.
Candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties campaigned in Farmington on Thursday and Friday.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mick Rich and state auditor candidate Wayne Johnson, the incumbent Republican, had floats in the Connie Mack World Series Parade Thursday morning. Meanwhile, Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce and his lieutenant governor running partner Michelle Garcia Holmes also participated in the parade.
Later in the day, Pearce, Garcia Holmes and Rich met with local leaders and industry officials at the San Juan College School of Energy.
While Rich is focused on his Democratic Party opponent, the incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich, his race took a recent twist when Libertarian Party candidate and current state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn withdrew from the race. At the same time, former Libertarian presidential candidate and one-time New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has expressed interest in taking Dunn’s place on the ballot.
Rich said the news that Johnson may be entering the race has not changed his game plan for campaigning.
“I’m in the race ‘til the end,” he said.
Democratic Party land commissioner candidate state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Silver City, and four of the Democratic Party Court of Appeals candidates attended a meet-and-greet session in Farmington on Friday.
Garcia Richard has a background in education and has worked as a school teacher. She said her experience as a teacher piqued her interest in the position of land commissioner because schools receive funding from state lands.
If elected, Garcia Richard said she wants to diversify the ways that the state lands produce money, such as increasing opportunities for making money off of renewable energy development.
The state does not receive royalties or severance tax from renewable energy production that takes place on state lands.
In contrast, she said New Mexico is projected to see $800 million in royalties, severance tax and leases from fossil fuel extraction on state lands next year.
She said if elected she would like to explore ways to make renewable energy profitable for the state beyond just leasing state lands.
Kristina Bogardus, candidate for position one on the Court of Appeals, has 27 years of law experience and started her career as a clerk on the Court of Appeals. She said she enjoys the legal analysis and writing that the Court of Appeals requires.
“I could put those skills to good use in the court,” she said.
Megan Duffy is running for position four on the court. Duffy got her start working for Justice Richard Bosson when he was on the New Mexico Supreme Court. She said that work was part of the reason she wants to serve on the Court of Appeals.
“I loved the research, the writing and the thoughtfulness of the court, and I always knew that I wanted to go back,” she said.
Both Duffy and Bogardus have a background in civil law. The other two Democratic Court of Appeals candidates have worked on criminal cases.
Jacqueline Medina is running for position two on the court and has more than 27 years of experience. She began her career as an assistant district attorney. Medina later reviewed prosecution appeals while serving as assistant attorney general in the criminal appeals division. She said that required her to research the law. Medina said she will be fair to everyone and apply the law as written.
Both Bogardus and Briana Zamora, who is running for position three on the court, said campaigning throughout the state has provided them with valuable opportunities to get to know the people of New Mexico.
“I have learned that a lot of people either have misinformation or a lack of knowledge about our judiciary,” Zamora said.
She said if she is elected she would be willing to speak with anyone who will listen about the role of the courts.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.